The demand for digitization has hit a new high in the past couple of years, mainly due to the pandemic. India now has the highest number of smartphone users globally, after China. Ram Sewak Sharma- Chief Executive of the National Health Authority of India mentioned during a global summit that India has 1.18 billion mobile connections, 700 million Internet users, and 600 million smartphones, which are increasing 25 million per quarter.
Even the remotest areas of the nation have network availability, contributing to the rural population attraction towards technology and innovation. Additionally, smartphones are so widely available now, and options like EMI have made it comparatively easy for people to afford one. There is competition amongst manufacturers, and hence they keep driving the prices down to sell the maximum number of models.
The pandemic forced schools to shut, and education shifted to digital means. There was also a constant need to stay connected, and smartphones seemed fit for the purpose. With more and more people going digital, India has realized the importance of digital applications.
With people staying home, the average screen time also hit a new high. The younger generation, who already are keen users, started using their phones more than ever during the past couple of years. The statistics indicate usage up to 8.8hrs a day! 4-5hrs of screen time was reported by the elderly. With screen time increasing, the e-commerce industry witnessed a spike in online shopping. Offline sales were directly affected, and even the brands with no online presence had to sail along with the digital ship. It has come to this- people prefer convenience more than ever now, and online shopping offers convenience at its very best.
Now, addressing the main question- Are smartphones also responsible for the tech-talent shortage?
With the increase in the smartphone user base, startups are facing a tech talent crunch because the more people use smartphones, the more they expect from an app or a brand. A startup can no longer be basic. To keep up with the competition, startups have to ensure they get the best tech talent team as the audience is now more knowledgeable and curious than ever. They are keen on new developments and user experience, so the right tech team is the only way to keep your audience engaged.
Talking about the funding, investors from overseas are shifting attention from China to India, and hence, more funding has started to flow. The MNCs have realized the talent the Indian industry has, and they offer higher salaries and positions to people. There is an increment of 50-100% for someone with a huge experience, and a new startup cannot afford to offer a 50-60 lac annual package to an employee.
Recently, Commonwealth Bank Australia added more than 1000 employees to its technology unit in Bangalore. Similarly, e-commerce is expected to create more jobs on the technological front. If all the tech talent goes to these MNCs, how are emerging startups supposed to succeed without technology?
Did you know that India is the world’s third fastest-growing startup ecosystem? The US and China are the only countries ahead. Over 70 Indian startups are unicorns, more than 40 in this year alone, have made it to the prestigious unicorn list. For startups entering the unicorn list, it may become easier to hire tech talent. But to reach the level of being a unicorn, tech talent is required from the very beginning.
Digital skills demand is not going anywhere. Skills like cloud, automation, artificial intelligence/machine learning, and full-stack will continue to remain in very high demand.
It is true that sometimes people ditch MNCs to have a shot at better work-life balance, and join startups. But the risk is always huge. A startup doesn’t have a full technical team, and mostly one person is handling the major operations. What if that doesn’t work out?
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